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Empty words

EDITOR: Another mass shooting massacre. After Sandy Hook, I really believed something would be done regarding gun laws. Every time I hear a member of Congress say “my thoughts and prayers are with the families,” I feel like screaming. Actions speak louder than words.

JEANNETTE McCONNELL

Santa Rosa

Avoiding war in Korea

EDITOR: While it was mildly hopeful to read that the U.S. is communicating with North Korea (“US in direct contact with Pyongyang,” Sunday), no one in the Trump White House seems to get what is needed to defuse this crisis. The more Trump threatens Kim Jong Un, the more Kim will drive the North Korean people to produce more deadly weapons.

What gives the U.S. the right to dictate which nations can have nuclear weapons and which ones cannot? Whether we want to admit it or not, other nations can and will develop a nuclear capability.

Instead of trying to drive North Korea into submission with embargoes, sanctions and threats backed by military “exercises,” we should, as former acting CIA deputy director Michael Morell suggested in Sunday’s article, give up on denuclearization and work on how to deter the North from ever using its weapons.

We know how to do this: keep trying to engage this proud, prickly nation by offering favorable trading options, cultural exchanges of entertainment and music and healthy competitions such as the Olympics and other sports. Take the idea of war off the table. Replace it with bilateral exchanges.

FRANK H. BAUMGARDNER

Santa Rosa

Arrogant athletes

EDITOR: How long is the NFL fan base going to put up with the arrogance of our professional athletes? They are for entertainment. What exactly is their contribution to society?

If we stop watching, they would be out of a job. They are not the gods they think they are. There are many patriotic Americans who are sick to death of these overpaid entitled individuals. How many places in the world would pay them this kind of money to play a game?

Let’s get a little perspective here.

AMY CATELLI

Cotati

Global education

EDITOR: Kids are back in school again, and hundreds of nervous students now have their first couple of weeks under their belts. They’ve met their trained teachers, received instructional materials and are learning in welcoming, updated school buildings.

But for millions of children and youth around the world, that first day of school is only a dream. A staggering 263 million children and youth are out of school globally. It doesn’t have to be this way.

With U.S. support, the Global Partnership for Education has played a major role in getting tens of millions of kids a quality education globally. But the program will need the continued support of Congress to continue progress.

I hope we can count on our representative to cosponsor the bipartisan Global Partnership for Education resolution, House Res. 466, to ensure that more kids access the possibilities created by going to school.

JON ANDERHOLM

Cazadero

It isn’t about the flag

EDITOR: I feel it necessary to correct Dominic Graham (“Bigger than one man,” Letters, Sept. 27) who said athletes “are fixed on insulting our flag and country” in kneeling while our national anthem is played.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Their beef isn’t with the anthem, the flag, our vets or our country. It’s against endless racism and yet another wacky, misguided temper tantrum by the toddler-in-chief.

From 1965-68, I served proudly and honorably in the U.S. Army. Back then, for those who don’t know or remember (and I assume this includes Graham and our draft-dodging president), Vietnam War protesters burned (and spit upon) American flags.

In 1989, the U.S. Supreme Court (deciding justices included Thurgood Marshall, Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy) determined that the act of burning the American flag is protected speech under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The act of kneeling during the national anthem hardly rises to the level of burning the flag or spitting on it, does it? I applaud those athletes who see a terrible wrong and protest in good conscience by exercising their right to do so.

Meanwhile, with 66 percent of Americans voicing their concern that Donald Trump is dividing the country (up from 59 percent in August), he’s apparently aiming for a perfect score.

BOB CANNING

Petaluma

Tax giveaways

EDITOR: In response to your coverage of the budget and tax debates in Washington: With one in eight Americans living at or below the poverty line, why are some members of Congress taking aim at federal programs that help working families put food on the table and obtain other basics to survive to pay for tax breaks for the wealthy?

SNAP (formerly food stamps) lifted 3.6 million out of poverty last year, and the Earned Income and Child Tax Credit lifted 8.2 million people above the poverty line. Gutting these programs — and many others, including Medicare and Medicaid — to pay for tax cuts for millionaires and big corporations is unconscionable.

With important budget decisions happening now, I hope I can count on our members of Congress to stand with families and kids here in our state and reject these reckless tax giveaways.

NICHOLAS LENCHNER

Santa Rosa